Study Bookkeeping Courses
The range of bookkeeping skills you can learn – such as creating accounting systems, financial reporting, payroll and helping with BAS and other taxes – are invaluable in any industry.
And, unlike words, the language of numbers is spoken fluently all around the world – so you can use your expertise on every continent. Here you’ll find some of the best online and class-based bookkeeping courses available through TAFEs and colleges around Australia. Many of the certificates and diplomas are available full-time, part-time and as self-paced so you can balance your study with all your other commitments. Let’s take a look at the bookkeeping industry and the courses available.
Bookkeepers are vital to the day-to-day financial operations of a business. You’ll be required to maintain accurate records of financial transactions that will assist management to make business decisions. The role can be as flexible as you want to make it, with part-time and full-time opportunities available, or work for yourself from your own home at your own pace.
Some of the duties of a bookkeeper include processing purchases and sales, processing payroll, bank reconciliation, record keeping, creating finance reports for clients and accountants, and providing information for Business Activity Statement (BAS) preparation. Bookkeeping courses provide the skills and knowledge to perform such tasks.
The opportunity to change careers and become a bookkeeper is an attractive proposition for a lot of people. With such a high percentage of women in the bookkeeping field, and most people entering the profession from their late 20’s at the earliest, statistics suggest it is a good choice for people re-entering the workforce or looking for a career change.
What Are the Career Outcomes of a Bookkeeping Courses?
A career in bookkeeping is often either an entry point for mature age employees who are re-entering the workforce or changing careers, or young people looking to get their foot in the door with an eye on further education and a career in accountancy. While most people become BAS agents or bookkeepers having completed a bookkeeping course, there are other options available.
- Accounts Clerk
- Business Services Manager
- Assistant Accountant
- Office Manager
- BAS Agent
What is the Job Outlook for Bookkeeping Professionals?
The outlook for bookkeepers in Australia is mixed. There will be a great deal of positions becoming vacant in the short term, but the total number of positions are projected to decline by less than 2% between 2013-2018. Almost a quarter of all bookkeeping positions are in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Industry, while another 20% are in the Construction industry.
- 25,000-50,000 job openings between 2013-2018, however the total number of jobs is expected to drop by approximately 2,000 positions.
- Only 29.5% of bookkeepers are full-time
- Average Full-time Salary: $52,000 per year
- 5% of Bookkeepers are female
What Are the Different Types of Bookkeeping Courses?
There are several directions you can take with your bookkeeping courses, it’s totally up to you. You can jump straight into a course that will have you qualified to be a bookkeeper straight away, with options to take your career in other directions such as financial services, or accountancy.
By far the most common course people study to enter the bookkeeping profession is the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping. This course will give you the required skills to becoming a competent bookkeeper, with the chance to take your studies further if you have accountancy or financial planning aspirations.
There is also:
- Bookkeeping short courses
- Certificate I
- Certificate II
- Certificate III
- Certificate IV
Bookkeeping Short Courses
There are a number of different bookkeeping short courses. For example, short courses on software programs like MYOB, XERO and Quicken. These courses are a great way to learn the basics of such systems if you have never used them before. There are also more advanced programs if you know the basics but would like to learn more detailed functions.
A Certificate I in Financial Services is a great place to start for those who might want to dip their toe in the water to see if a career in bookkeeping is the way to go for them. There are no minimum education prerequisites and only consists of a small number of units. Upon completion you’ll be able to develop and use a personal budget and savings plan, while understanding debt and consumer credit, superannuation, the Australian financial system and markets, and the taxation system. Once completed you will be qualified to work as an insurance investigator, bookkeeper or credit officer.
A Certificate II in Financial Services is much the same as the Certificate I course, with a number of elective units added. Again, there is no minimum education prerequisite, and takes just a short time to complete. Along with the units covered in the Certificate I course above, you’ll be able to work effectively in the financial services industry, use business technology, understand OHS processes, balance retail transactions and process customer accounts. Once completed you’ll also be qualified for roles as an insurance investigator, bookkeeper or credit officer.
A Certificate III in Financial Services is the natural progression from the Certificate II course, with additional elective units added. These include processing financial transactions and extract interim reports, provide general advice on financial products and services, issue a life insurance policy, implement member investment instructions, process customer complaints and retrieve information from records. These units are in addition to those already delivered in the Certificate I and II courses. Once completed you’ll also be qualified for roles as an insurance investigator, bookkeeper or credit officer.
While the Certificate III in Financial Services is moving you towards a career in financial planning, the Certificate III in Accounts Administration is a step towards a career in accountancy and bookkeeping. This TAFE accredited course will prepare you for careers in payroll services, accounts payable and receivable, and office management. You’ll acquire essential administration skills such as analysing financial reports, basic bookkeeping, working with manual and computerised systems, and dealing with purchases and sales. There are no prerequisites for this course, and once qualified you will be able to fulfil positions such as Accounts Clerk (Receivable and Payable), Payroll Clerk, and in Customer Service in the financial services industry.
To enrol in the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping course, you must have your School Certificate, or completed a Certificate III in Accounts Administration, or the relevant vocational experience. This nationally recognised qualification is ideal for current or prospective bookkeepers and BAS agents, and includes competencies required for BAS agents as specified by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). On completion of this course you will be able to set up and maintain computerised accounting systems, prepare financial statements and carry out payroll procedures. Once completed you will be qualified to work as a bookkeeper for a small business, either on staff or contracted, or as a BAS agent.
Following the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping course, if you choose, you can pursue further education with Diploma and Bachelor Degree courses in Accounting or Financial Planning, depending on which way you want to go. If you now know which level of qualification is most suited, you can view the courses available here.
Is Bookkeeping right for you?
Your day-to-day work life will depend on what type of bookkeeping role you’re after. If you work for yourself or a small business, you may find yourself playing the main accounting role for your clients or small business owner. If you work for a larger company, you’re more likely to be performing data entry tasks, and providing support to the in-house accounting department.
There are many opportunities to enter the bookkeeping industry, and the ease with which you can enter the profession makes it attractive to those seeking a career change, are re-entering or new to the workforce. You could provide your services to a wide range of businesses providing enormous variety in your career, and there is the opportunity to become and accountant further down the track. This would open the door to plenty of different career paths and a much higher salary.
On the flip side the schedule for bookkeepers can be varied. You may be under the pump at tax time, while keeping accurate records and meeting fiscal deadlines can be stressful for some.
If you have an eye for detail, work hard, enjoy working with numbers and potentially have one eye on a future in accountancy or financial services, a great place to start would be a career in Bookkeeping with the relevant training.